17155 West 44th Avenue,
P.O. Box 10, Golden, CO 80402
303-279-4591 or 800-365-6263
FAX 303-279-4229

About The Museum

The museum is owned and operated by Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, a not-for-profit educational corporation.

Welcome to the largest railroad museum in the Rocky Mountain West. The locomotives and cars on exhibit are surviving examples of thousands that once ran in Colorado and adjacent states. Today, many rail lines in the mountains have been abandoned, their routes converted to highways or trails. Others are still important routes for freight and Amtrak trains. A few still carry thousands of tourists each summer to such destinations as Silverton, Georgetown, Leadville, Cumbres Pass and the summit of Pike's Peak. Several of the locomotives and cars on our 12 acres of grounds are open for your inspection. Others are under restoration, while many of the freight cars are used to store artifacts and archives. The tracks were built and are maintained by museum volunteers, and many of the rails are from abandoned mountain railroads. Some of the rail was among the first produced in 1882 at the CF&I steel mill in Pueblo.

Most of the track is narrow gauge, with rails 36 inches apart. Such lines were common in the Colorado mountains from 1871 until the late 1940s. Standard gauge track is 56-1/2 inches wide and is used throughout North America and in most other parts of the world. The track you see with three rails can accommodate rolling stock of both gauges.

This guide contains brief descriptions of over 50 items of equipment on exhibit and is arranged numerically within four groups: locomotives and motor cars, passenger cars, cabooses, freight and other cars. Find the number on the side of each car or locomotive and then locate that number in the guide. Large descriptive signs are also next to several of the exhibits. More detailed information may be found in the booklet Colorado Railroads And The Colorado Railroad Museum, for sale in the gift shop.

The map will help you find those items that always stay in one location. Inside exhibits are described at the end of the listings. We hope that your visit to Colorado Railroad Museum will be both informative and enjoyable. Our staff and volunteers will be glad to answer any question you may have.


NOTE: In the descriprions (N) after the number indicates narrow gauge and (S) standard gauge.


1 (S)
Manitou & Pike's Peak cog engine that pushed carloads of sightseers to the summit of America's most famous mountain for over half a century. (See descriptive sign on nearby fence)

1 (S)
Standard Oil Company switch engine from Casper, Wyoming, refinery carried its water in curving tank over boiler and oil fuel in tank at rear of cab. Thousands of similar "saddletank" locomotives were once used by industries, mines and contractors.

2,6,7 (N)
Three of the "galloping geese" used 1931- 1951 to replace steam trains on the Rio Grande Southern between Durango, Telluride and Ridgway in southwestern Colorado. They were built from used Buicks, Pierce Arrows and spare parts to haul passengers, mail and freight.

3 (N)
Eight-ton gasoline locomotive from a quarry near Loveland, Colorado, is used by the museum to switch cars.

20 (N)
Rio Grande Southern 4-6-0 (4 small wheels in front, 6 driving wheels and 0 trailing wheels under the cab) was built in 1899 for Florence & Cripple Creek R.R. and was sold to RGS in 1916. It was purchased by Rocky Mountain Railroad Club in 1950s for preservation and display at the museum.

50 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western diesel-mechanical locomotive built in 1937 for Oregon's Sumpter Valley R.R. It was used by D&RGW in 1960s in Durango to switch the Silverton Train and later on California's Roaring Camp & Big Trees R.R.

191 (N)
Denver Leadville & Gunnison 2-8-0 built in 1880 for DL&G prodecessor Denver South Park & Pacific, 191 was sold to a Wisconsin lumber company in 1902. Seventy years later it was rcturned to its Colorado home by the museum.

318 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-8-0 built in 1896 for Florence & Cripple Creek R.R. On D&RGW it pulled the last trains to Pagosa Springs(1935) and Ouray(1953). Our volunteers plan to have 318 under steam for its centennial.

346 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-8-0 built in 1881 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia as D&RG No. 406 and named "Cumbres." Saved from being scrapped in 1950 by museum co-founder Robert W. Richardson, it became the original piece in the collection which now contains over 50 cars and locomotives. First steamed up by the museum in 1962, it is run on our track several weekends each year and is the oldest operating locomotive in the Rocky Mountain states.

491 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-8-2 was built in 1902 as a standard gauge 2-8-0 and rebuilt to narrow gauge in 1928. It is on long term loan to the museum by its owner, Colorado Historical Socicty. A full description is on the adjacent sign.

583 (S)
Denver & Rio Grande 2-8-0 was built in 1890 for freight service on the then newly completed standard gauge mainline between Denver, Pueblo, Glenwood Springs and Salt Lake City. It is the only surviving D&RGW standard gauge steam locomotive and was purchased by the museum from Southern San Luis Valley Ry., to which it had been sold in 1947. The nearby sign gives a complete history of No. 583.

4455 (S)
Union Pacific 060 switch engine is displayed across West 44th Avenue behind the rotary snowplow. This is one of over 200 similar locomotives once used in UP yards from Omaha and Kansas City to Los Angeles and Seattle and for many years was assigned at Denver Union Station.

5629 (S)
Chicago Burlington & Quincy (which became part of Burlington Northern in 1970) built this 317-ton 4-8-4 at its West Burlington, lowa shops in 1940. It was a "dual service" locomotive, being able to haul 20 passenger cars at 80 mph or 100-car freight trains, and was used on Chicago-Twin Cities and Chicago-Denver mainlines until 1956. In 1963 CB&Q gave the locomotive to National Railway Historical Society for exhibit at the museum. It was moved in on a specially-built spur track from the rail line across West 44th Avenue.


B-8 (N)
This Denver & Rio Grande business car rebuilt in 1884 from a coach dating back to 1872, served as office and home for railroad officials out on the line and had a set of standard gauge wheels for use on those parts of the system. It was owned by the Uintah Railway from 1927 to 1939 and used on the remote line from Mack, Colorado, into northeastern Utah.

22 (S)
Thousands of this type of four-wheel electric trolley, named "Birneys" after their designer Charles O. Birney, were used in cities all over the United States beginning in 1918 and ending in 1951, when the last fleet was abandoned in Fort Collins, Colorado. Identical car 21 has been restored and since 1985 has operated on summer weekends on its old route in Fort Collins.

29 (S)
Midland Terminal (see car 111 for description)

50 (N)
Uintah Railway baggage/coach from this remote western Colorado narrow gauge line that was abandoned in 1939.

60 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway Post Office car was a post office on wheels, with clerks sorting mail enroute. From 1899 to 1951 it served such communities as Salida, Gunnison, Montrose, Durango and Alamosa.

96 (S)
A Burlington Route business car originally built in 1886 and most recently remodeled in 1958, it was sold in 1962 to Intermountain Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, which used the car for trips and excursions until 1971. For several years early in its career 96 was the private car of Burlington President Charles E. Perkins.

100 (S)
Great Western Railway baggage/coach used on this line from Loveland to Eaton and Longmont during the years 1904-1960 in "mixed" trains-freight trains which carried passengers in a coach or caboose at the rear. These were common on many branch and short line railroads until the 1950s.

109 (N)
Denver Tramway 42-inch gauge streetcar built in Denver in 1911 and used on the last run of Route 8- University Park on October 22, 1949. This carbody is owned by Intermountain Chapter of National Railway Historical Society, which plans its restoration.

111 (S)
Colorado Midland Pullman-built observation car used between 1887 and 1918 on the unusually named Denver-Cripple Creek train, the "Seven-Come-Eleven," also known as the gambler's special. On weekends it ran on the famed mountain wildflower excursion trains between Colorado Springs and South Park. From 1919 to 1949 it was owned by CM successor Midland Terminal and numbered 29.

168 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western baggage car originally built in 1883. This carbody is presently used to store material.

0250 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western "outfit" car served on maintenance-of-way repair trains. It was originally built in 1889 as a Pullman sleeping car and later saw various uses on Colorado & Northwestern (the Switzerland Trail Route west of Boulder) and by Western Union to repair telegraph lines.

254 (S)
Colorado DE Southern Railway Post Office car used from 1922 until 1967 from Billings, Montana to Denver and Fort Worth. Cars such as this on hundreds of intercity passenger trains provided the efficient, cheap and fast mail service enjoyed for decades in the United States and Canada.

256, 284, 307 (N)
These Denver & Rio Grande Western wooden 44-passenger coaches are representative of hundreds of similar cars that once served narrow gauge railroads throughout the west. No. 284 has been restored to its 1930s appearance for use on the museum's occasional steam trains.

3101 (N)
Streamlined electric trolley car built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1943 for Los Angeles Ry. This design was developed in the 1930s and thousands of these cars served the transit needs of many large North American cities until the 1960s. The same technology continued to be developed in Europe and provided the basis for the new light rail systems now being built around the world, including the United States.

5442 (S)
Union Pacific streamlined coach used from 1950 until 1971 on such UP trains as City of Los Angeles, City of Denver and Portland Rose. Many similar cars were modernized for Amtrak service until replaced by today's Superliner fleet.

Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe stainless steel sleeping/observation car built in 1937 for the Super Chief, the world's first streamlined, diesel-powered all-Pullman train. Running from Chicago to Los Angeles at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour, it was known for years as "the train of the Hollywood stars."

Rio Grande Southern office car, used for many years by the railroad's superintendent, was purchased in 1952 by the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club for preservation and exhibit at the museum. In 1894 Rico and D&RG B-8 (see B-8 above) appeared as a two-car train near southwestern Colorado's Lizard Head Peak in one of western photographer William Henry Jackson's most famous views.


These cars served as office and home-away-from-home for freight train crews. Interiors were spartan but comfortable and always featured a cast iron stove. Numerous cabinets provided storage for supplies. Compare the relative sizes of the standard and narrow gauge cabooses.

49 (N)
Built in 1881 by D&RG shops, this car served until 1938. The carbody was in very poor condition when purchased by the museum in 1984, and it has since been restored to its original four-wheel configuration by museum volunteers. A lantern could be placed in the compartment on the roof of the cupola to signal the engineer at night.

0404 (N)
Rio Grande Southern built this car in 1902 as one of two new pieces of rolling stock it ever owned. 0404 sometimes served as a passenger coach and railway post office car. On many occasions it sheltered snowbound train crews and was used on the final RGS train in 1951.

0524, 0578 (N)
These two cabooses built in 1880 and 1879 represent the later appearance of four-wheel cars such as No. 49 described above. 0578 is owned by Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, founded in Denver in 1938, which today is an organization of over 1000 historians and enthusiasts.

902 (s)
This "side door" caboose was built in 1924 by Denver Tramway and used on the Denver & Inter-Mountain electric line from Denver to Lakewood and Golden until 1953. It was purchased by the museum after surviving 20 years in a junk yard.

1009 (N)
This small caboose was built in 1882 by Union Pacific when UP controlled the Denver South Park & Pacific. After serving DSP&P successors Denver Leadville & Gunnison and Colorado & Southern it was retired at Leadville in 1942. The carbody served for 20 years as a backyard shed until being purchased and restored by the museum.

10606 (S)
This car was built by Colorado & Southern in 1944 to a standard plan of 1919. Among the last wooden cabooses built, it served on freight trains from Denver south to Trinidad and north into Wyoming until retired in 1968.

13862 (S)
Chicago Burlington & Quincy once used hundreds of cabooses like this 1917-built one on its rail network from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains and Texas.


OC (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western flanger plow was coupled behind the locomotive. By means of an air valve in the cab the engineer could raise or lower the blades to clear snow from between the rails.

45 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western 20-ton capacity refrigerator car. Cooling was from large blocks of ice placed in corner bunkers.

159,167 (N)
D&RGW 25-ton capacity refrigerator cars. The development of refrigerated railroad cars in the 1880s allowed fresh fruit, produce and meat to be shipped over long distances, thus revolutionizing diets for millions of people.

W493 (N)
This water supply car was converted from the tender of D&RGW locomotive 206 and was used on work trains or as an auxiliary locomotive water tender.

500(588) (N)
This 1898 boxcar hauled general freight on the Florence & Cripple Creek until sold in 1915 to Montana Southern, located southwest of Butte. MS was the last common carrier narrow gauge railroad to be built in the United States.

830, 878,883 (N)
These dump gondola cars hauled coal, ore and limerock for D&RGW from 1904 until abandonment of the narrow gauge in the 1960s. The museum uses them for storage of coal for locomotive 346, which is run several weekends each year.

910 (S)
Western Weighing & Inspection Bureau "test weight car" based in Denver for many years. It was hauled to grain elevators and industries in Colorado and adjacent states to check accuracy of track scales used to weigh loaded cars. Donated to the museum by WW&IB in 1980 when replaced by a more modern car.

1026 (N)
Colorado & Northwestern/Denver Boulder & Western 1897 boxcar from the famed "Switzerland Trail Route," this car was owned by Western Union from 1919 to 1933 as part of a seven-car train used to maintain telegraph wires along Colorado narrow gauge rail lines.

1423 (N)
D&RGW gondola car used similarly as 830,878,883 above.

01789 (N)
Built in 1887 this is the oldest existing freight car from a Colorado railroad and has been restored to its appearance as a Rio Grande Southern bunk car, used to house maintenance workers out on the line.

X-3050 (S)
This "idler" or "three-way coupler car was built by D&RGW in 1941 from a retired steam locomotive tender. It was used to couple cars of narrow and standard gauge in trains operated over three-rail (or dual gauge) lines at Alamosa, Salida, and Montrose.

S-3271,3272,3661,3705 (N)
These D&RGW 23-ton boxcars built in 1904 were used for over six decades hauling every imaginable commodity, from beer to ore concentrates, to and from the mountain communities served by the narrow gauge.

5400 (S)
For several years beginning in 1934 Adolph Coors Company had a fleet of 30 of these cars to transport its product in the Rocky Mountain area. Today 70 percent of Coors beer is shipped in insulated rail cars to all parts of the United States. Every day two trains of about 50 cars each leave Golden, each containing 172,000 sixpacks of beer.

5666,5714,5717 (N)
Several hundred of these D&RGW cars once hauled cattle and sheep (note that 5714 has a double deck for the latter) to mountain grazing land in the spring and to market in the fall. This traffic was a mainstay of the narrow gauges from the 1920s to the 1950s. You can stand next to one of these cars after a warm rain and still be reminded of their former "passengers."

6209,6732 (N)
Denver & Rio Grande Western flat cars, 6732 was one of the last narrow gauge cars of any type built. It was converted in 1955 from a standard gauge car for use as an "idler" or empty car placed between others loaded with long oil field pipe being transported from Alamosa to Farmington, New Mexico. This was the last major freight traffic for the narrow gauge.

7064 (N)
Colorado & Southern stock car built in 1900 and later owned (1938-1953) by the Rio Grande Southern. (see 5666 above)

9149 (S)
Union Pacific express boxcar built in 1939 for use on passenger trains to transport express and package freight overnight between such cities as Denver-Omaha, Salt Lake City-Los Angeles and Portland-Spokane. Later used for company service and numbered 902040.

11058(88177) (N)
Union Tank Car Line frameless tank car built as standard gauge in 1907 and rebuilt to narrow gauge in 1924 to haul crude oil from Farmington and Chama, New Mexico, to the refinery at Alamosa, Colorado.

12770(88125) (N)
Union Tank Car Line narrow frame tank car built in 1912 and used in same service as 11058 above.

67988 (S)
10,855-gallon capacity car donated by General American Transportation Corp. is located across the road in front of the museum behind the rotary snowplow.

99201 (S)
Colorado & Southern steam powered rotary snowplow built in 1899 and used for many years out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, before being assigned in 1936 as a narrow gauge plow between Como and Leadville. Converted back to standard gauge in 1943, it was last used between Leadville and Climax in 1965. The diameter of the rotary wheel is ten feet. 99201 is located across thc road in front of thc museum.

205065 (S)
Chicago Burlington & Quincy "wedge" plow used for many years betwecn Sterling, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. This flatcar was weighted with a cargo of broken stone to give extra stability. Coupled in front of the locomotive the plow would get a running start and ram into a snowdrift as far as it could go, before backing out for another try. Derailments and overturns were not uncommon to this procedure.

902040 (S)
Union Pacific (see 9149 above).

The Grounds

The grounds of the museum with North Table Mountain as a backdrop are suggestive of some of the territory through which these trains once ran and provide good opportunities for photography. Notice the "harp" switch stands and other items such as mileposts and whistle boards in appropriate locations. The three-way stub switch just inside the fence along the road was originally laid in 1890 in Rio Grande Southern's Dolores yard. The "shop" area behind the large Burlington locomotive authentically represents the appearance of a mountain narrow gauge repair yard, such as that of the RGS once located at Ridgway, Colorado.

A one-third mile "mainline" extends from the front gate around through the cut, where the grade reaches four percent at one point (four feet rise in elevation in each 100 feet of distance). It continues past No Agua (no water) tank---named for a point on the old D&RGW "Chili" line to Santa Fe, New Mexico---to end-of-track at Juanita. The little green waiting shed between the museum building and the watertank served the Rockdale stop, located about half a mile to the south, on the Denver- Golden electric interurban trolley until 1950. Nearby you will find the vista-dome monument which stood in Glenwood Canyon before the Interstate highway was built.

Inside the museum building, which resembles an 1880-era masonry depot, you will find a two-floor exhibit of artifacts, photographs and documents that tell the story of Colorado railroads from 1867 to the present. In the basement a 45 by 20-foot HO model railroad depicts a mountain rail network in miniature. Coin slots will run either an Amtrak California zephyr or an old fashioned carnival. The model railroad is in full operation on the first Thursday night of each month from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. On those evenings there is no charge for admission to the museum.

On the east side of the building, next to the Colorado Midland observation car, is a shady picnic area where you are welcome to enjoy your lunch or just to relax and contemplate days gone by. Remember, your admission ticket is good all day long, and you may come and go as you please. Don't forget to browse in our gift shop where you will find a large selection of books, videos and railroad memorabilia.

Please feel free to ask any of our staff if you have any question about railroads, past or present. Our goal is to be a resource of information about this important part of our history. We all hope that your visit to Colorado Railroad Museum will be both an educational and entertaining experience.